Acquired Electronics360

Audio and Video

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker Teardown

30 November 2012
The following is an overview of a teardown analysis conducted by IHS Technology Teardown Services.

IHS Insight Perspective

$200 wireless speaker bar from Beats by Dr Dre. This fits in the middle of a range of wireless speaker options ranging from $50 to $350 in the wireless speaker bar market.

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Device View 1Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Device View 1
Key Features & Comments

• Functions as speakerphone
• Available in 5 colors
• Tap-to-pair (NFC)
• Line input and ouput
• MicroUSB
• "Outperforms Jawbone Jambox" per some reviews
• At $200 retail, it's at the high end of the price range for similarly sized/powered units.

Design Notes

• Only unit equipped with NFC.
• Only unit without a passive radiator. It's also higher powered than similarly sized products (6W per channel vs. about 3W for the other products). So, it effectively makes up for the lack of enhanced low-end response that a passive radiator would provide, through sheer wattage increase, and with 4 speakers instead of just 2. This of course comes at the expense of battery life - Beats Pill is spec'd at approx. 7 hours, other units around 10-12 hours.
• Relies on Texas Instruments for most critical IC functions - audio DSP/CODEC, audio power amp, and all power supply requirements.

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Main PCB TopBeats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Main PCB Top
Target Market


Released October 16, 2012 Date of press release announcement

Pricing and Availability

$199.95 USD MSRP

Street prices found as low as ~$175 USD (Jan 2013)

Via company website

Also available at "authorized Beats resellers" (not defined in press release)

Volume Estimations

250,000 Annual Production Volume
3 Total Years

For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed an Annual Production Volume of 250000 units and a Product Lifetime Volume of 3 year(s).

Teardown volume and production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed volumes are different by an order of magnitude, minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis because of this.

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Main PCB BottomBeats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Main PCB Bottom
Cost Notes

Component pricing reflects, in most cases, the volumes provided. Areas where specific production volumes may have limited effect include smaller passive components.

The Top 10 Components listed below accounted for 73% of the total BOM cost of the Beats speaker unit

Main Cost Drivers below

HYB Battery Co. Battery Pack - Li-Ion, 2-Cell, 3.7V, 2100mAh, 7.77Wh, w/ Charge Protection Circuit & Discrete Insulated Lead Wires- (Qty: 1)
Loudspeaker Assembly - 4 Drivers, 2 Capacitors & Interconnect Harness- (Qty: 1)
Witrontech BT12006 NFC Module - 13.56 MHz, 106, 212, 424 Kbit/s Data Rates, Contains TBD NFC IC, w/ Etched Copper on FR4 NFC Antenna- (Qty: 1)
Witrontech BT0811 Bluetooth Module - V3.0, (A2DP)1.2 Support, Contains CSR BC57E687C-GITB-E4 Chipset- (Qty: 1)
PCH International AC Adapter - 100-240VAC 50/60Hz Input, 5.0V/2.1A Output, NEMA 1-15 Plug to USB Type A Socket- (Qty: 1)
Enclosure, Main, Rear - Injection Molded Plastic, Printed, w/ Rubberized Coating- (Qty: 1)
Texas Instruments TLV320AIC3254RHB CODEC - Stereo, 48kHz, w/ Embedded DSP, Headphone Driver & Mic Preamps- (Qty: 1)
Front Faceplate - Injection Molded Plastic, Printed, w/ Rubberized Coating- (Qty: 1)
Enclosure, Main, Front - Injection Molded Plastic, Painted- (Qty: 1)
Renesas R5F211B4 MCU - 16-Bit, R8C Core, 20MHz, 16KB Flash, 1KB RAM, 2KB Data Flash, 4-Channel 10-Bit ADC, 13 I/Os, I2C- (Qty: 1)

Not Included in Analysis

The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.

We do provide an Excel tab "Overall Costs" where a user can enter their known pre and post production costs to build a per unit cost reflective of theirs actual expenditures.

Country of Origin

For the purposes of this analysis, we are assuming the following country(ies) of origin for each level of assembly, based on a combination of "Made In" markings, and/or assumptions based on our knowledge of such equipment.

Bluetooth PCB - NA
Box Contents - China
Main PCB - China
Misc Interface PCB Assemblies - China
Other - Enclosures / Final Assembly - China

Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of "finished" sub-assemblies (such as NFC modules), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.

Labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. "Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.

Design Complexity

Component counts by assembly and the number of assembly are indicators of design complexity and efficiency.

Component Qty: 74 - Other - Enclosures / Final Assembly
Component Qty: 299 - Main PCB
Component Qty: 18 - Box Contents
Component Qty: 25 - Misc Interface PCB Assemblies
Component Qty: 416 - Grand Total

The average component count of the 5 dual-driver designs we looked at was roughly 415 components. At 416 the Beats Pill is right in around the average for overall complexity.

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Box ContentsBeats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Box Contents

Design Notes

Electronics - the core of the design is a Renesas 16-bit MCU. Other notable Ics include a Texas Instruments TLV320 series stereo codec, and the CSR BlueCore 5 BC57E687Cxx chip. The design, like other competing speakers, is very basic with a limited number of "key" functional components. Batteries end up being top cost drivers on most of the systems though, and these are obviously critical to overall viability of the portable speakers.

Beats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Box ContentsBeats by Dr. Dre Pill Bluetooth Mobile Speaker_(iSi) - Box Contents

Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter


Date Event Location
12-16 Aug 2018 Vancouver, Canada
11-13 Sep 2018 Novi, Michigan
27 Sep 2018 The Reef, Los Angeles
03-05 Oct 2018 Boston, Massachusetts
26 Oct 2018 Old Billingsgate
Find Free Electronics Datasheets